Lead Generation Agency Red Flags

'We've been burnt in the past'

Unfortunately it is very common for technology companies to have had bad experiences with lead generation agencies in the past, and this can make it difficult for them to trust a new partner to get the job done for them. In this article we explore some lead generation red flags, to hopefully help you avoid having a bad experience.

Red flags to look for:

1. A lack of specialisation

It is a red flag in our opinion when a lead generation agency casts a very wide net across multiple products/industries and is not a specialist in one area. In this scenario what often happens is there is an ‘ok’ understanding of multiple industries rather than a deep knowledge, and this is just not enough to successfully generate sales qualified leads. 

An agency who focuses on a particular industry/specialist area often has a deeper understanding of buying signals and what is happening in the industry, which is crucial to run successful outbound campaigns. 

2. Lack of clarity on type of ‘leads’

What type of lead is the agency going to provide for you? there is a huge difference between a ‘Marketing Qualified Lead’ and a ‘Sales Qualified Lead’, and also a huge difference in their value. A ‘Sales Qualified Lead’ is incredibly valuable and much further along the sales process than a marketing qualified lead. It is a huge red flag if a company is only committing to providing you with contact information/lead with very low levels of qualification.

3. Committing to Unrealistic Targets

A founder/sales rep of a lead generation agency is much more likely to close a sale with a potential new client if they commit to unrealistic targets (which deep down they know they won’t achieve). Whilst it can sometimes be very difficult to spot this, your most powerful tool here is your intuition. Ask yourself, based on what we have been seeing in the market and how many leads we’ve generated ourselves – is this truly achievable? It’s very important to trust your gut and also set up calls with the companies references to confirm the company is not overcommitting just to get the deal across the line. Any reputable company should also run a smaller pilot period to prove they know what they’re doing.

4. Over Promising 

There is obviously some overlap between unrealistic targets and over promising but (for the sake of this article) there is a slight difference. It is very important to remember that there is no magic wand when it comes to lead generation or sales in general, it is not possible to predict exactly when/how many leads will come in over a certain period of time (if the quality is high). 

It is a huge red flag if a company promises ‘2 highly qualified meetings per week’, as sales is unpredictable and doesn’t work this way (trust me, I wish it did!). It is more realistic to predict targets based on 3/6 month periods.

What often happens in the scenario when X amount of meetings is promised over a short time frame, is the quality really suffers and the agency ends up trying to put through ‘leads’ which realistically aren’t going anywhere.


5. Asking for full payment upfront

Obviously, it is a red flag if an agency asks for the full payment upfront before any work is completed. There is no problem with a percentage being invoiced before calling begins, but avoid working with an agency that requires full payment before any work has been completed/results have been realised. 

6. Lack of transparency on the team

Unfortunately some lead generation agencies (and companies in general) pay staff very little to maximise their profits, which often leads to low quality callers working on campaigns. It is a red flag if the agency has any issues introducing you to the callers who will be working on your campaign – after all, the callers are representing your brand so you cannot compromise on this.

There are bad actors in any industry and unfortunately the industry of lead generation for technology companies is no exception. It is important to remember that direct sales outreach is still an incredibly effective tool to fill pipeline and drive sales if done correctly, and there are experienced and professional agencies out there to help you achieve this. 

If you need help with your sales, reach out to us.

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